The Fairbanks Interior Table Tennis Club sent just three players to represent their state at the Yukon-Alaska Challenge this past weekend. They should have sent more.
Players from the Whitehorse club won all three divisions at the fifth annual event, held Friday and Saturday at Whitehorse Elementary School.
Current Yukon men’s champion Kevin Murphy played a significant part in the sweep.
Murphy defeated two-time Yukon champ Ryan Bachli 11-7, 9-11, 11-8 in the singles final. He also won the team event with Bachli.
The singles final was a rematch of the Yukon Table Tennis Championships two weeks earlier.
“I thought that Ryan would probably take it, given we played the Yukon championships two weeks before, and we had a full day of competition and the doubles the night before, so I thought he’d be really well tuned up,” said Murphy. “It just turned out I had the answer like I did two weeks ago.”
Murphy and Bachli took first in the team event, with wins over Fairbanks’ Rick Robertson and Stefan Krist, an Austrian studying at the University of Alaska.
However, the semifinal was closer. Murphy and Bachli had lost their doubles match to Mehrnoush Mahdavi and Kyle Gonder and so had to win both singles matches to advance.
Murphy was down 10-6 in the fifth game of his match against Mahdavi but managed to pull off a 13-11 win to advance to the final.
“Ryan had won his singles match, so I had to beat Mehrnoush to move on,” said Murphy.
Mahdavi and partner Myrna Bruns won the random doubles event with three wins and one loss on Friday.
The tournament, which rotates each year between Whitehorse, Fairbanks and Anchorage, operates on a handicap system.
Players with more U.S.A. Table Tennis rating points than their opponent began each game in negative points, at the ratio of one game point for every 50 USATT points separating the two players.
So, for example, a players with 1,650 USATT points would begin each game at minus-2 against a player with 1550 USATT points.
“The Canadian (points) system is different, but we started the first (Yukon-Alaska Challenge) so we started in that system,” said Fairbanks’ Diann Darnall, who founded the tournament five years ago.
“There are new players here, so it’s exciting for us to play against your new players.”
With Murphy and Bachli both having 1,650 points, neither player had a handicap in the singles final.
This year’s challenge saw its first international teams. Darnall teamed up with Bruns in the team event and Bachli teamed up with Krist in the random doubles.
Yukon Table Tennis president Dave Stockdale was presented the Jerry Smith Spirit of the Game Award in recognition of his fair play and sportsmanship.
1st Myrna Bruns/Mehrnoush Mahdavi
2nd Ryan Bachli/Stefan Krist
3rd Kevin Murphy/Dave Stockdale
4th Taras Yurkiv/Diann Darnall
5th Rick Robertson/Kyle Gonder
1st Kevin Murphy/Ryan Bachli
2nd Rick Robertson/Stefan Krist
3rd Diann Darnall/Myrna Bruns
4th Mehrnoush Mahdavi/Kyle Gonder
5th Dave Stockdale/Taras Yukiv
6th Edna Knight/Xiu-Mei Zhang
1st Kevin Murphy
2nd Ryan Bachli
3rd Mehrnoush Mahdavi
4th Stefan Krist
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org